Is multicultural marketing still relevant? Current news points to continued division related to gender, age, race, religion, politics and on. Still, one article tells use of the term ‘multicultural marketing’ is fast coming to an end. The author gives the definition: “targeted marketing efforts to a specific, clearly defined ethnic group.” He attributes his claim to the downward trend in Google searches over the past 10 years. And, its “practice”, he says, is “following closely” behind.
In the U.S., for example, “a biracial and mixed-race population” continues to grow. In turn, it produces a “fusion cultural mix that more accurately describes” the country today. This is why a multicultural marketing approach – addressing a “simplistic ethnic-based segmentation model” – no longer works. Instead, he says, many large advertisers have adopted a “total market approach”, while others seek to speak directly to target audiences with cultural marketing examples we should all pay attention. These are cross-cultural or emphasize similarities among groups (polycultural). And given the rise of Gen Z, brands that wish to survive are wise to follow suit.
The Pew Research Center reports 48 percent of Gen Z are non-white, making it “the most racially and ethnically diverse generation”. Sixty percent believe options for gender extend beyond ‘male’ and ‘female’. And, near one-third have no religion. This number is almost two times that of their grandparents’ generation. Times are changing. And what matters most to elder generations isn’t what matters most to our youngest generation, whose members account for $143 billion in direct spending. Instead, Gen Z comes together over shared interests, whether soccer, books, food, or feminism, as examples. And, when they ‘come together’, they prefer to do so in person, creating physical community opposed to a digital one. Denny’s is one such brand that’s taking note of this.
The casual dining chain, per Forbes, is revitalizing its efforts to win over younger consumers. Its “See You at Denny’s” campaign seeks to position its restaurants as “inclusive, diverse and welcoming.” The chief brand officer says to do so, they must not only speak to the total market, but also the “cultural nuances” of African-Americans and Hispanics. One brand message tells that, as a people, we’re not so different. We all want friends and somewhere we can be ourselves. It acknowledges the tension in the world, but says at Denny’s, “you leave that all at the door.”
Providing Gen Z this place is what they want, per a Harvard study. It finds the generation “building deep connections in gyms, fan communities, art groups, and maker spaces.” In these places, these connections depend “less on shared identity, and more on shared practice.” This shows why the best cultural marketing examples bring people together over the things they enjoy.
The following brand experiences serve as cultural marketing examples that brought together Gen Z with success. Or, they make an indirect impact on the generation to benefit the brand both now and later.
A Bloomberg article tells that “to really get Gen Z, look at the parents.” It urges companies who wish to get a piece of their spending to study Gen X, which has been previously overlooked. These individuals are who made Gen Z different from all others. And, the bond between the two generations is likely what makes time with family and friends, followed by self care, of utmost importance for Gen Z.
This Father’s Day, two brands – Gillette, known for its shaving products, and Fatherly, a website for “dad advice” – paid heed to this intel with a “pop-up gallery experience” in NYC. Inside, attendees enjoyed drinks and appetizers, but the real draw was the framed letters penned by famous men. These gave advice to boys on topics of all kinds. A panel of experts also provided further parenting tips, with an underlying theme: “Don’t be afraid to fail.” The pop-up allowed men to come together over a love of their children and armed them with info to assist in their efforts to raise Gen Z.
A global market research firm shares that girls are the “most underserved piece” of the sportswear market. It’s no longer smart to ignore female Gen Z members. Their parents give them “say” in the shopping process, and there’s plenty of opportunity for brands. Soccer is one sport we’re seeing girls get more representation in ads and overall focus from brands of all kinds. For example, for this year’s FIFA World Cup, sponsoring brands Head & Shoulders and Visa promised equal support of both male and female events. This was also the goal of Adidas for last year’s World Cup.
In London, the athletic wear brand activated a live experience to complement its “Creativity is the answer” campaign. The goal, per a Campaign article, was “to give London’s young football-obsessed audience the chance to share their creativity with us.” This was in the Adidas “Creator Base”, which offered live music, a World Cup screening room, an EA Sports lounge, and a creator workshop. The latter provided a space “to create customised shirts, football cage designs, and mini-footwear”, aligning with Harvard’s findings. And, to show the ‘underserved’ some additional love, Adidas celebrated a local London community – This Fan Girl, “a community dedicated to bringing female football fans together.” A special event honored a female soccer player/singer-songwriter, paying homage to others just like her.
Near 90 percent of American teenagers prefer to buy beauty products in store. One article speaks to the “increased appeal with Gen Z” to try on products and get feedback from friends. Beauty brand marketing isn’t lost on this fact, with smart brands getting intimate with consumers through experiential events that allow for product sampling and fulfill Gen Z desires.
Such is the case with the Fenty Beauty brand which seeks to be inclusive for all women. It started with the products but now extends to its cultural marketing. One example is a NYC pop-up which showcased its Moroccan Spice Collection. Women of all skin colors could enjoy and test the brand’s products, seeking each other’s advice on the bright, spicy shades. It was all amid a Moroccan themed backdrop, which included a hookah lounge, providing another spot for women to come together.
When planning experiential events, the setting isn’t the only factor to make the right impression. The people who personify your brand are just as, if not more, important.
Though Gen Z may not identify with people based simply on their race or gender affiliation, as examples, they do expect your brand to show its true colors. Promo staff who interface with a Hispanic audience, for instance, should have knowledge of that culture. And, brand ambassadors at a FIFA World Cup should have a solid understanding of the game. With appropriate representation on the front lines of your activation, your brand can overcome cultural boundaries and ‘come together’ with consumers.
At Elevate, people are our business. Learn how our company culture results in the right representation, from promo staff to brand ambassadors, for any experiential event.